Do not get me wrong – there are few things I enjoy more than seeing Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy tear through opposing defenses, dragging grown men the length of the football field and back.
However, without Aaron Rodgers behind center … it feels almost like a death sentence.
The Rodgers-Lacy era is just beginning. Fans know it, media and analysts know it, opposing defensive coordinators know it. I was just starting to settle into it. A couple of seasons ago, I never would have been OK with a 40 percent passing ratio against 60 percent rushing … not with Rodgers at the helm.
Things are different now.
As a fan of a team with a franchise guy at the running back position (finally) – I can truly say that the benefits are outstanding.
1. It opens up the passing game for Aaron Rodgers and the dangerous arsenal of receiving weapons he employs.
2. It lightens the load of the offensive line; it also provides a sense of pride in the run blocking.
3. It makes way for play action passing, which often sets up the “big play” downfield.
4. It keeps our franchise QB and MVP upright.
5, It forces the defense to honor the run and the pass equally; the defense can’t stack the box or drop extra coverage without getting burned.
We were starting to see the positive effects that the running game could have on our offense. With the injury to Aaron Rodgers, everything changed.
Lacy and Starks still had great success against the Bears, even when they were expecting run. They loaded up the box and Lacy blew right through it. It was a thing of beauty. The defense didn’t respect the arm of Seneca Wallace (and why should they? He was unproven). Somehow, the running backs still had a monster night.
The Eagles had a chance to prepare for our formidable rushing attack. They loaded up the box and still Lacy pounded out the yards – in the first half.
As the first half progressed, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Are we utilizing this man’s talents correctly here? Without the running game and without Aaron Rodgers, we would never stand a chance, I know that. But … I was so scared that every time he went down, he wasn’t going to get up. We were sacrificing his body for … what? Three-and-outs? Two missed field goals? An interception in the end zone? It didn’t seem right. I could see the frustration on his face after he marched us down the field and the opportunities were squandered.
A little while ago, head coach Mike McCarthy expressed interest in limiting Lacy’s carries – giving him the opportunity to have fresh legs for a postseason run. With the notion of the postseason teetering on the brink of hopelessness … is there such a thing as too much Eddie Lacy?
I feel like there might be.
Unless Scott Tolzien can make the defense respect him – Lacy is just a lamb being led to the slaughter. It isn’t exactly what I want to see from our rookie workhorse. People are already saying that his time in the NFL could be limited if his bruising style of play doesn’t change. Well, let’s face it … he isn’t going to change. I don’t want to see his talents wasted on a stroll down punishment lane.
There is a fine line between kicking the running game into high gear and just aimlessly running our guy ragged. I believe that line is called Aaron Rodgers.
With Rodgers, full speed ahead. But without him, I think it’s time to put the horse to pasture until the passing game shows signs of life.